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Allen Parr

Allen Parr vs Discernment Ministries: How Allen Parr Gatekeeps on Discernment

In the realm of Christian YouTube, there is few channels greater in size than that of “The Beat by Allen Parr.” For a channel of around 1 million, his videos contain flashy headlines that do not reveal assertions about the underlying content or stances, which include hot takes on theology and discernment on false teachers delivered in short form videos. Of his top 10 videos, eight of them deal directly either with discernment against large false churches and teachers or are against the excesses of the charismatic church movement. Allen Parr is a discernment YouTuber, regardless of whether he would identify as one or not.

For background, Parr grew up in the church and only began taking his faith seriously as he entered adulthood. After becoming an engineer, he eventually forewent this career to take up ministry, enrolling in Dallas Theological Seminary.  Though he graduated in 2004, he has not served in a formal church office since 2014 and online ministry is his focus. Interestingly, he sells a Bible Study Tool Kit for $297, which features module-based online courses with a private community and bible study. In June of 2023, he is launching his book Misled: 7 Lies That Distort the Gospel (and How You Can Discern the Truth), which is itself a discernment book against false teachings like legalism, prosperity gospel, and overemphasis on spiritual gifts, all for the $28.99 hardcover. Will it cover issues like the woke church? Probably not since Parr colludes with Eric Mason.

Allen Parr Responds to Critics

On March 10, 2023, Parr published a response video to his critics, stating that he is bothered by the videos allegedly disparaging him on YouTube. Rather than call it a “response video,” Parr’s tactic is essentially a “Gospel Juke” through the use of Philippians 1:15-19. Parr is likening himself to the Apostle Paul in labeling the motives of his critics as impure but he is content so long as the gospel is being preached. Basically, Parr does not want YouTube drama, but does nothing to address the criticism of his teachings on YouTube, believing his critics are challenging him on secondary issues or attempting to punch up at him for clicks. To compare himself to Christ or Pauls’ false malignment is rather prideful given the severity of the consequences from the slanders against them versus a modern YouTuber. This comparison is an apples and oranges, especially as he is technically monetizing this conflict via YouTube ad revenue.

Parr does not name names of who his critics are or detail their actual criticisms. In scouring YouTube, the two most prominent critiques of Allen Parr are Jordan Riley, who Tim Hurd echoes, and BibleTreasure, who took insult to Parr’s mistreatment of discernment bloggers as worse than false teachers. It is probably Jordan Riley’s video from September 2022 which prompted Parr to publish his “Gospel Juke” response, especially since Riley’s video was the most critical of Parr from all discernment channels.

Allen Parr Calls out Discernment Ministries

The origins of Parr’s recent video could be traced to his December 3, 2021 video entitled “3 Christian YouTube Channels You Need to Unsubscribe From…NOW!” The provocative video against discernment channels provoked Colin Miller at Fight For Truth and BibleTreasure to respond due to a screenshot of their content featured in the video, meaning that Parr fired the first shot, not channels seeking to “punch up.”

The video starts out with positive advice, warning against the extrabiblical prophetic channels, basically the hyper-charismatics who falsely prophesied in the name of The Lord. Then, he switches this warning to an attack on channels that call out false teaching. He accuses these channels of making believers feel as though they are being deceived, often through clickbait titles, so that they are dependent on the discernment channels which then builds up their platforms. Essentially, Parr’s accusation is that discernment channels are seeking ad revenue and algorithmic benefit. While he might maintain in the beginning of the video that he is “not questioning anyone’s motives” this is clearly contradicted throughout the video as he advocates unfollowing content creators he dislikes. By lumping discernment YouTubers in with false prophets and effectively calling them clout chasers, he is maligning their motives. The hypocrisy of making a YouTube video with a clickbait title critiquing channels who call out other teachers with “clickbait” videos cannot be left unsaid. Parr’s video entitled, “THIS Is How Christians Need to be More Like the LGBTQ+ Community!” is the epitome of provocative clickbait.

Parr’s beef against discernment is whether one should make their entire ministry about calling out false teaching, stating that these channels do not build up and edify…like his channel does. This is a classic critique of discernment, but the problem is the major figures in Christian media and most of the biggest name pastors either are themselves apostate or extremely reticent to call out those who are.

For years, no one wanted to touch Andy Stanley due to his father’s reputation while numerous churches sang Hillsong, Elevation, and Bethel music. It is not edifying for the church to refuse to address these errancies that have arisen, and Scripture provides countless examples of false teachings being confronted. Parr is also disingenuous in his attack because when properly calling out false teaching, it leads to correct teaching on doctrine. Scripture is the best weapon against false teachers, to which it is devoid in Parr’s critique on discernment channels. In a biblically illiterate culture, it is easy for misconceptions to metastasize while many have been led into false theological upbringings. Many of those people, particularly when they came out of hyper-charismatic or NAR movements, are especially thankful for discernment ministries. Parr would liken his ministry to teaching one to identify a counterfeit by understanding the authentic version, but the utility of discernment ministries is that they identify the counterfeiters who Trojan Horse false teaching with the good. If so-called Christians could recognize the counterfeits, then there would not be Joel Osteen’s filling domes every Sunday, nor would “Relationship Goals” have propelled Mike Todd to stardom.

As Jordan Riley illustrated in his video, water with a drop of poison is still dangerous and believers should be warned against consuming such poison.

Allen Parr’s Discernment Content

Parr’s fifth most watched video, entitled “Are The Bible Project, Andy Stanley, Francis Chan, John Piper and Steven Furtick False Teachers?” debuted in May of 2021 is his foray confronting some of the largest church teachers. Each of these names is worthy of their own video given the extent of their reach, but rather than address the totality of their teachings, Parr cherry-picks criticism of these teachers and ultimately defends them.

While John Piper is the least problematic on this list, Parr focuses on Piper’s distinction on faith and works rather than the liberalism of Piper or his Christian Hedonism. Admittedly, Piper is the most benign teacher of these five. According to Parr, Francis Chan is derided for his associations, which are loose and extremely ecumenical, rather than his “little gods” teachings, false healing claims, and NAR theology. Parr himself has questionable associations like Eric Mason and Marcus Rogers. Parr addresses Steven Furtick’s Christian Modalism and man centered gospel, but concludes the soundbites are inconclusive and at worst, improperly worded. Parr would even defend Andy Stanley’s “unhitched” interpretation, rewording it to mean that the law was simplified down to two commandments (the summation of the law), which is more demanding. This is not what Stanley teaches. On Tim Mackie of the Bible Project, Parr defends Mackie’s teaching that Man created hell by reducing it to a secondary issue. Nevermind that Tim Mackie is homosexual affirming, like Andy Stanley. The mystery teacher he alludes to at the beginning of the video is himself for his teachings on eternal security, conflating whatever his teachings is with many well known teachers as if his precise doctrine is the same. The question of Eternal Security has differing explanations from Calvinist and Arminians, yet generally when either group goes off the rails, it is to justify a reprobate mind. Against Parr, this criticism likely comes from Arminians who believe one can “lose” their salvation.

Parr concludes this video by stating that Christians have the freedom to listen to whomever they want because to say otherwise would be potentially blocking somebody’s “blessing.”

In your attempt to try and keep them from consuming false teaching, you may also be keeping them from consuming a lot of true teaching from that particular individual, because every single person that I mention on this list, they have some very very great bible teachings. So by labeling somebody a false teacher, what you’re basically trying to tell people is there is no good there is no value that they can add to this person’s life and so therefore you shouldn’t listen to them at all.

Parr seems to misremember that it is God who does the saving, not man. All of Stanley and Furtick’s teachings need to be thrown out because they are teaching a false gospel. God can save someone in their churches, but it will be in spite of their teachings, not because of them.

It is here where Allen Parr gives his infamous “eat the meat and spit out the fat” quote that suggests to his followers that it is permissible to follow false teachers provided you do these things. This, of course, assumes that they can recognize the false teachings present in teachers. Parr is incorrect in conflating those who teach overt heresies with those who might disagree on actual secondary issues. Andy Stanley’s pro-homosexual antinomianism is not the same as R. C. Sproul being a pedobaptist postmillennial. One is an outright heretic leading people to hell; the other could be wrong on secondary issues but did not compromise on primary issues.

As is typical of large YouTubers, Parr does not want to distinguish between true and false teachers under whose spells many of his own subscribers are likely entrapped. In keeping it real, Jordan Riley went easy on Allen Parr considering the degenerate teachers Parr defends throughout this video, which far exceeds the danger, though embodying the conclusions, of “eat the meat and spit out the fat.” The surrounding context makes the quote worse.

Allen Parr on Mike Todd and John MacArthur

In 2023, Parr came out with a video criticizing Mike Todd for the following reasons: sensual lifestyle, prosperity gospel, flaunting of his wealth, and poor exegesis. While Parr might have serious concerns about Todd’s teaching, all of these concerns existed in May of 2021 where he taught that it was wrong to label heretics false teachers. None of this information was new in January when he released this video. Though this is a step in the right direction, Parr still treats Todd as a brother rather than a follower of Satan. Moreover, Todd’s church has a crossdressing pastor and recently he claimed that sinful desires, including adultery, are not sinful while expressing confusion as to God’s design for marriage and gender. Against Mike Todd, the Overton window has shifted. It was only possible for someone like Parr to address Todd’s teachings in 2023 because there were ministries who exposed Mike Todd while Parr was still defending Stanley and Furtick.

On John MacArthur, Parr believes the allegations against Grace Community Church’s “mishandling” of the Eileen Grey situation as presented by Julie Roys, whose timeline he does nothing to verify, suggesting he does little to no research on sensitive subjects. Parr has no qualms using 20-20 hindsight (which is misinformed) to echo attacks at MacArthur over a suspicious case. Roys has a history of animus towards MacArthur which motivated her to manipulate the timeline. None of the allegations against David Gray were known while GCC was involved with Eileen Gray and the allegations of sexual abuse arose during therapy sessions. Promulgating these false narratives is bearing false witness. He also attacked MacArthur for his “go home” comment against Beth Moore. Parr is egalitarian, and validates the ministry of Priscilla Shrier, who is a prosperity preacher. He is also a fan of Tony Evans.

Unlike Parr, MacArthur performs the function of a pastor and warns against false teachers.

Conclusion

Christian YouTube is dominated by channels who became large by playing nice with wolves in the Church. Allen Parr portends that he is against discernment ministries while functioning as a discernment ministry, one that has sinfully defended wicked teachers like Furtick, Stanley, Chan, and Mackie, who are each apostates for their own reasons. Parr even morally equivocates on whether it is permissible for a pastor to own a private jetIn essence, this makes him a gatekeeper to actual discernment for his audience, because sooner or later, said discernment ministries would turn their sights on a woke, million-subscriber channel who defends numerous false teachers and advocates Critical Race Theory. He might smile and speak in a calm and daresay winsome voice, but he has no problem bragging about the size of his platform while suggesting that any attacks against him are by those seeking algorithmic attention.

Parr might not be a false teacher, but he is a terrible teacher and is detrimental to his audience.

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2 Responses

  1. We all have different gifts, talents, and roles in the body of Christ. Depending on perspective, some jobs may seem positive, and others negative. Edification and encouragement would seem to be positive, but if it strays from scripture, and ends up encouraging others on a path that leads to eternal damnation, then it is certainly not positive. Discernment and criticism, holding others accountable may seem to be negative, but if it serves to avoid trouble, to hold to and honor scripture, by which we will all be judged, most importantly considering eternal ramifications, then it is certainly not negative. The Lord works it to His glory and for good. As Jesus said, iron sharpens iron.

    The godless world may perceive exceeding the bounds of scripture to be a positive, good, and loving thing, but in reality that is as negative, evil, and unloving as it gets.

    Secondly, in referencing Phil. 1:15-19, he misses the forest for the trees.The point is that it is meaningless to try to discern intent. It’s not about what we think intent may be, or trying to read minds. It’s about what is actually said and done. That is Paul’s point. I.e., if what they’re preaching is true and in line with God’s Word (that is, they are preaching the real Christ and not some false image of Him, and they are preaching the real and true Gospel, according to scripture), then we should not be concerned with intent. And I don’t know of any discernment ministries that are trying to read the mind of false teachers. False teachers are being called out based on what they actually say and do. They’re being rightly reproofed and rebuked for not preaching the real and true Christ, and for not teaching the real and true Gospel. But that doesn’t mean that the subject of intent is off limits. A part of discernment, and a part of the leading of the Holy Spirit, is to see and understand how and why people begin to stray, and what’s ultimately driving it. It is worthwhile to seek to understand how and why they ended up far astray, not as an effort to read their mind or to know their intent, but to warn others of pitfalls to avoid, lest they too be led astray. If they’re astray and far off course, and they’re not preaching the real Christ, then Phil. 1:15-19 doesn’t apply. Seeking to understand and discern what may be driving false teachers to become false teachers, and pointing out what you see in that regard, at least as a possible cause, is a worthy exercise. It always starts small. First an inch off course, then miles.As Jesus said, he that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.

  2. Thanks again for insight into bad teaching. My imprecatory prayer list has grown from information from The Evangelical Dark Web. Mr. Parr’s argumentation is quite weak Biblically and I agree with the notion that reading Matthew would disabuse him of his own modeling of Jesus. We could just read Matt. 23:13ff see Christ in fact does not do as Parr suggests. As for Paul, similarly one wonders what Parr has remembered about his Apostolic ministry as Paul calls out Peter and Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1Timothy. I wonder of this desire to be compared to Harvard Divinity School which is chock-a-block full of heretics and lies. So since we are to see Dallas as the Harvard of Evangelical seminaries we should then not be surprised heretics wandering out of their graduating classes setting up shop as false teachers. Of course he would have us assume it is comparable in academic rigors but one can be sure entrance into HDS has a bar set more on race and woke-manship than one qualified by test scores, so similar to the qualification for baptism in Andy Stanley’s church. Presumably Paul’s position on women in authority and homosexuality would keep him out of HDS. In the end we see MR. Parr is most concerned with getting the discernment monkeys off his own back, as he sends to flight monkeys of his own. His being the flying kind they share no common ancestor with the discernment ministries he claims not to emulate.

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